Moeller to give 3 percent of his pay to Share
Vancouver Democrat makes donation in light of cuts to aid programs
Originally published August 25, 2011 at 7:54 p.m., updated August 26, 2011 at 2:40 p.m.
State Rep. Jim Moeller said Thursday he will send 3 percent of his legislative salary to Vancouver-based Share House, which works to help homeless and hungry Clark County residents.
Moeller, a Vancouver Democrat, announced Thursday that he is making the contribution in view of what he characterized as “devastating and mind-numbingly endless cuts to important public-assistance programs.”
Share House operates four shelters and provides hot-meal programs, as well as outreach and support for transitional housing. Last year, its programs served an estimated 10,000 residents of Southwest Washington.
The continuing recession and ongoing cuts in state programs “make it more important than ever that we look out for the well-being of our neighbors in need,” Moeller said in a statement. “Persistent economic woes and unrelenting state budget cuts are turning the heat up for a lot of people. Business, labor, social service organizations — I don’t know of anyone or any sector in our society that isn’t taking a lot of hard punches.”
Moeller is the third Clark County legislator to agree to a voluntary pay cut in the face of reductions to state employee salaries and deep cuts in state-funded social services. Legislators are paid $42,106 annually.
Rep. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, announced earlier this year that she would reduce her own legislative salary by 3 percent because she believed it was wrong to cut state employees’ pay but not her own.
State Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver, decided last week to take a voluntary 3 percent cut in his legislative pay. “The state needs every dime it can get,” he told The Columbian Friday.
Lawmakers reduced most state workers’ pay by 3 percent this year to help bridge a multibillion-dollar state budget deficit. The cuts have come mostly in the form of more unpaid furlough days and larger employee contributions to health care benefits.
The 2011 Legislature passed a resolution that encourages, but does not require, lawmakers and statewide elected officials to scale back their own pay. Only four of 147 legislators initially, including Rivers, agreed to do so.
Moeller noted that he refused to take a 2 percent raise granted to state legislators by a salary commission a few years ago, opting instead to send the extra 2 percent to a local charity. “The money should go to folks most in need of a helping hand,” he said at the time.
The House of Representatives has instituted several cost-cutting measures in recent years, he said, including cuts in per diem pay, travel, supplies and staff salaries.